Page images
PDF
EPUB

and H. R. 5493, and add that Mr. Moran was one of the members of the earlier advisory committee, and that his statement here is highly illuminative of the need for the appointment of such an advisory committee again.

Senator CAPEHART. We will accept the statement for the record. without objection.

(The statement is as follows:)

STATEMENT BY NATHAN MORAN, OF SAN FRANCISCO, WITH REFERENCE TO THE PROPOSAL FOR A MIGRATORY GAME BIRD ADVISORY COMMITTEE AS PROPOSED BY S. 2199 AND H. R. 5493

Membership on my part in the erstwhile Migratory Bird Treaty Act Advisory Board is the genesis of this letter. Its impetus is insistence by associates in the cause, mostly young timers, that I record my experience in retrospect and my reactions by way of prospect to the proposed reinstatement of such a consultative council, the same to be henceforth by congressional sanction.

By way of brief historical review, two such boards have heretofore been called into existence, dating from the passage of the act of Congress of March 4, 1913, for the protection of migratory birds. Both were created on the initiative (but not under statutory requirement) of the then Secretary of Agriculture David F. Houston, who first appointed a Migratory Bird Law Advisory Board of 15 members on March 27, 1913.

That act, promoted by sportsmen of national repute, was the first essay on the part of the Federal Government to correct the evils attending the then common practices of killing and marketing game birds without restraint as to numbers, nor regard to seasons-spring shooting being one of those in vogue-as well as to stop the wanton destruction of species beneficial to agriculture.

The 1913 act was of itself a flash in the pan, for as much as within approximately 1 year after its passage a Federal court held it invalid, as being beyond the powers conferred on Congress by the Constitution. The backers of the movement, however, were undeterred and invoked the paramount treaty-making power. The result was the negotiation, and on December 8, 1916, the proclamation, of what is officially entitled "Convention Between the United States and Great Britain for the Protection of Migratory Birds in the United States and Canada." Commonly referred to as the treaty, this was not self-executing, in that it could not embody provisions for enforcement beyond an undertaking on the part of the high contracting parties severally to enact proper legislation to that end. Canada passed its act in August 1917, and the United States followed suit on July 3, 1918, with our Migratory Bird Treaty Act, which superseded and by its terms repealed the act of March 4, 1913. Thereby the original Advisory Board, which had in the meantime continued to function, automatically went out of existence.

Secretary Houston, however, promptly reconstituted this consultative adjunct under the title of Migratory Bird Treaty Act Advisory Board, to which he appointed 20 members on September 17, 1918.

The first regulations under the treaty act had already been approved by the President on July 31, 1918, and first amendment of them came on October 25, 1918, presumably after a meeting of the second Advisory Board. Open shooting seasons on waterfowl as so established were, comparatively speaking, long, in general being fixed at 3 months, and bag limits were large, 25 per day for ducks and 8 for geese; and these remained substantially in effect at least through 1929, although there were minor changes in the regulations from year to year. My records and files of that period having been largely discarded, I cannot state the date of my appointment to the Migratory Bird Advisory Board, but according to recollection it was in 1930 or 1931; Paul Redington being then Chief of the Biological Survey. I remained a member and attended meetings in Washington annually or oftener until the Board in its entirety was purged from existence by ukase of Henry A. Wallace, then Secretary of Agriculture, formal notice to that effect being dated May 29, 1937. J. N. (Ding) Darling had meanwhile succeeded to the position of Chief of the Biological Survey.

In the years 1930-33 members of the Advisory Board numbered 22, more or less, of whom one-half, speaking at large, were officially connected with State game administrative departments. The remaining constituency included representatives of two Nation-wide sportsmen's organizations in the persons of Seth

78232-48

Gordon, secretary of the American Game Association, and Arthur Foran, president of More Game Birds in America, which was later largely instrumental as founder of Ducks Unlimited; also members were protagonists of two organizations whose partialities were predominantly on the aesthetic side of bird life, the Audobon Societies and the General Federation of Womens Clubs. Also I should mention as a Board member the late Berry Locke, director of the Izaak Walton League, conservative-minded but whose attitude was to give the gunning fraternity a fair break. Last but not least were some individuals nationally outstanding as sportsmen-conservationists such as William B. (Uncle Billy) Mershon, of Michigan; Brooke Andersen, of Chicago; Sam Anderson, of Minnesota; and Edwin H. Steedman, of St. Louis. Constant and welcome visitors at Board sessions, though nonmembers, were Nash Buchingham and Ray Helland, who were accorded privileges of the floor.

Drafting of the migratory bird regulations during the first half of the 1930's primarily resided in the hands of the Chief of Biological Survey and his staff of higher assistants. This write-up followed soon after the meeting of the Advisory Board, whose proceedings and resolutions were reported and transcribed, and seldom prior to the last year or so of its existence were there material departures from its recommendations. Often these were arrived at after pungent debate but with reconciliation during sessions of many sectional differences of opinion. The Secretary of Agriculture and the President had powers of revision but these were little exercised.

Those basic regulatory powers have since been transferred to the Secretary of the Interior, and now generate from the Director of the Fish and Wildlife Service-but with the difference that there is no longer any democratie assemblage which can discuss, conciliate and voice to the powers that be any integrated nation-wide, views of what should evolve.

The old Advisory Board spoke direct to the executive branch of the Government, and its resolutions were not assembled nor screened nor censored through bureaucratic channels. I am reliably informed, and will accept correction if mistaken, that nowdays proposed regulations submitted to and recommendations solicited from State game administrative bodies, as to migratory bird regulations, are clamped under an iron curtain of secrecy.

The former Advisory Board customarily met in Washington about the middle of July of each year, when reports from continental breeding grounds were fairly complete. By way of advance preparation, there was customarily much intercommunication between members, particularly on a regional basis, as to prior seasonal conditions and prospects for the next. Speaking for myself, I made it a practice each year to send out a questionnaire to the game officials and to informed individuals in each of the 11 Western States, most of whichwere not directly represented on the Board, and to ask authorization as to views which I might express for them. I recall no failures of response nor cooperation. One result certainly was that regulations were much better received and respected nationally, with the knowledge that they had been fairly reached after open forum discussion, and not as the result of a star-chamber session.

I offer my unreserved and enthusiastic recommendation of the proposed reinstatement of a Migratory Bird Advisory Committee. The one feature of the pending legislation which I commend is that of having on the Committee one representative from each State, impartially appointed by its Governor, thus avoiding blocs and contests for balance of power in the selection of members. I freely admit that there are extremists on both sides of the migratory bird problem-on the one hand the aesthetes, whose penchant is for birdwalks in the city parks or excursions into the suburbs, and on the other hand an element of trigger-happy scatter-gunners who press for ultra wide-open regulations. Between the two there is a sound middle-of-the-road policy, to be defined by open covenants openly arrived at.

Certainly the formulation of regulations requires the knowledge and counsel of natural scientists, specialists and career men in game administration, but these should not be the ones solely enfranchised to cast a single ballot representing the entire popular constituency.

Mr. FIELD. And that, Mr. Chairman and members of this committee, concludes my statement before you, and we, in Nevada, feel that in the hands of such a distinguished committee, this bill will receive the finest of consideration.

And on behalf of our State, I extend to you, Mr. Chairman, and the members of your committee, an invitation to come to Nevada and to enjoy what we consider the finest duck hunting in the United States, irrespective of what my colleagues from Oregon, Washington, and of course, California, might later tell you.

Senator CAPEHART. You, of course, know that the Department of the Interior are opposed to this bill?

Mr. FIELDS. I know that; yes, sir.

Senator CAPEHART. Has their communication in opposition been put in the record?

Mr. JARRETT. Not yet, sir.

Senator CAPEHART. I offer for the record a communication from the Department of the Interior, signed by Oscar L. Chapman, Under Secretary of the Interior, opposing the legislation. (The document is as follows:)

DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, Washington 25, D. C., April 16, 1948.

Hon. WALLACE H. WHITE, Jr.,

Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce,

United States Senate.

MY DEAR SENATOR WHITE: Reference is made to your request of February 24, for a report on S. 2199, a bill to amend the Migratory Bird Treaty Act so as to provide that regulations adopted pursuant to such act for any area, section, or flyway shall be based on conditions existing within such area, section, or flyway, and to create a Migratory Game Bird Advisory Committee.

I recommend against the enactment of the proposed legislation.

An analysis of the proposed bill indicates that it would amend section 3 of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act in two respects. First, it would emphasize the adoptlon of regulations giving first consideration to local conditions and interests as against the adoption of regulations designed to protect the resource on a national as well as international basis. Next, it would establish a Migratory Game Bird Advisory Committee with 48 members with which the Secretary of the Interior must confer prior to the adoption of any regulations designed to carry out the purposes of the convention and the act. In addition, the legislation would rescind at the end of 6 months all regulations heretofore adopted pursuant to the provisions of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

In the course of their annual migrations, migratory waterfowl follow fairly well-defined lines of flight from their breeding grounds in Alaska, Canada, and the United States to their wintering grounds in the South. Likewise, the flights of the various species of migratory waterfowl occur within fairly wen-ɑenned periods of time. However, the latter is affected very definitely by storms, cold, drought, and other widely varying and generally unpredictable physical conditions. For many years the several "vertical" lines of flight of the migratory birds have been divided for the purpose of adopting regulations into three rather general horizontal zones extending across the United States. Within each or these horizontal zones the open seasons, as well as the bag limits, for each defined species of waterfowl have been closely uniform. Generally speaking, such a method of regulation has been successful from the standpoint of national conservation and has provided a maximum of shooting enjoyment consistent with the requirements of conservation to a majority of the hunters. Of course, unpredictable changes in the times of flight of the birds has produced a great variation in the abundance of those birds in any particular hunting area. If emphasis is to be placed on the abundance of birds in any particular hunting area, there will be left no means of offsetting the scarcity of birds in other hunting areas. True, the proposed legislation does not specifically require regulation of this nature. Nevertheless, since the existing legislation already outlines rather clearly all of the essential elements that must be considered to accomplish national conservation of the resource it may be construed as requiring greater consideration for local conditions than for over-all conditions along the flyways.

Theoretically, the best type of regulation from the standpoint of the hunter involves either or both special consideration for local conditions, or progres

sive open seasons along the line of flight of the birls. For practical, as well as conservation, reasons it has not been possible or advisable to develop such a pattern of regulation to its fullest extent. It is believed that past experience with the more flexible pattern set by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act as now worded has proved the real value of such flexibility even though it must be admitted that not every hunter has always been able to enjoy the type of hunting most desired by him.

With respect to the proposal for a Migratory Game Bird Advisory Committee, composed of one representative from each of the 48 States, it seems to me that that procedure would prove to be cumbersome and of questionable value in arriving at the determinations required annually to be made in advance of the adoption of suitable regulations for the conservation of migratory birds. Effective regulations of the migratory bird resources of the United States, as well as effective enforcement of the laws protecting such birds, requires the complete cooperation of all the State conservation agencies. Thus, for many years the annual changes in regulations have been submitted to each of the State conservation agencies for comment and advice. To interject the views of another group into this picture, which group is not necessarily associated with the problems of management of this important resource and is not responsible for the enforcement of the regulations, very conceivably would present insurmountable administrative problems. If an advisory committee of some nature is deemed necessary it would appear that such committee at least should be associated immediately with the existing conservation agencies of the various States which have the enforcement responsibility. As indicated above, there is now in existence the procedure best suited to the adoption of suitable and adequate regulations. Each of the State conservation agencies is directly responsible to the individuals and organizations of the States that are primarily interested in migratory waterfowl and it would appear that such State agencies are in the best position to grant the type of advice contemplaetd by the proposed legislation.

S. 2199 appears to be a combination of both S. 2097 and S. 2098, and it is assumed that this report on S. 2199 will answer your requests of February 3 for a report on the other two bills.

I have been advised by the Bureau of the Budget that there is no objection to the submission of this report to your committee.

Sincerely yours,

OSCAR L. CHAPMAN, Under Secretary of the Interior.

Mr. FIELD. May I make one more remark, Mr. Chairman?
Senator CAPEHART. You may.

Mr. FIELD. We had the privilege of reading that report of the Department of the Interior during luncheon, due to the kindness of Mr. Jarrett, with whom it had just been filed, and I might add I personally feel it is a collection of statements unsupported by facts, misstatements, and understatements which are completely refuted and answered by the fine reply of Mr. Eugene Bennett.

Senator CAPEHART. I might ask this question: One of the objections they have is to the advisory committee of one from each State, stating that it would be cumbersome and hard of administration, and it would handicap them in issuing regulations, because under the bill Mr. Chapman states he would have to get the permission from the advisory committee of 48.

Mr. FIELD. Mr. Chairman, that matter is possibly best answered by the fact that it is common knowledge that the States received much finer cooperation from the Service during that period of time when an Advisory Committee was in existence, which, as you know, was ended in 1937 by Henry Wallace, the then Secretary of Agriculture, I believe, under whose jurisdiction this set-up was then placed. Many of us feel that the fact that it was terminated by him might be a good reason in itself for its being reinstated.

The criticism contained partially in this report that it would make a bulky, unwieldy group, can be met by this: It is unreasonable to assume that the governer of each one of our States, who appoints the game commission thereof, and in some instances the executive director, would turn around and appoint to such an advisory committee someone wholly lacking in any knowledge and experience, or qualification, with duck-hunting matters.

To adopt that attitude is to, by implication, say that the fine governors of our many States do not know their business, and we all know that they are particularly jealous to see that those people having charge of fish and game matters in their States are the highest qualified people possible.

It is ridiculous to assume that a governor who has the responsibility of these matters at heart will turn around and appoint someone who is not qualified to act. Undoubtedly his appointment would be a member of the existing commission.

Senator CAPEHART. May I ask this question?

Mr. FIELD. Yes.

Senator CAPEHART. Whom will this legislation benefit?

Mr. FIELD. We feel, sir, that in time it will benefit all the duck shooters in the United States.

Senator CAPEHART. Will it increase the number of ducks?

Mr. FIELD. The duck population, of course, is subject to fluctuation and has been so fluctuating.

The Service maintains that the duck population has been going down, and they continued their regulations for the past year on that false assumption.

They have corrected themselves in hearings in San Francisco and Seattle, Wash., and in their own reports and in their own correspondence.

As a matter of fact, the duck population is on the upswing. But they are not taking that into account until 2 or 3 years afterward when it is too late to do anything about it.

If they wait that long, it may be on the downswing, and there are many of us who feel we would like to take advantage of these increases during our own lifetime.

Senator CAPEHART. It is not a measure to conserve or increase the duck population?

Mr. FIELD. It will. It will, because these regulations will be designed in taking into consideration the four actually existing flyways: The Pacific flyway, the central flyway, Mississippi flyway, and the Atlantic flyway.

Of course, in conjunction with that, regulations will be made as to horizontal zonings through those various flyways. That is being done

now.

We want the Service to put into effect the consideration by flyways now which it says it has the right to do under the existing act. We know that. They know it.

But we want them to do it now instead of talking about it for 20 years as they have been doing.

Senator CAPEHART. Do they have the right to do now everything that this bill would give them the right to do?

Mr. FIELD. They have the right to do it if they wanted to; in my personal opinion this bill is designed really as a request from Con

« PreviousContinue »